Taken from Boston Herald (Aug 31, 2018)
Ozzy Osbourne's final world tour isn't the end
by Jed Gottlieb
Credit: Courtesy: Ozzy Osbourne
John Michael Osbourne knew he wanted to be a rock star after hearing the Beatles for the first time. So did a million other teenagers. But Osbourne, known worldwide as Ozzy, the Prince of Darkness, managed to beat out his peers to become heavy metal's leading icon.
Now at 69, Osbourne is winding down his life on the road with his last major tour, which stops at the Xfinity Center Thursday. Pondering what that kid who began singing in Birmingham, England, pubs in 1967 would think headlining 20,000-seat stadiums, he can't hide his pleasure.
"He would be really, really happy," he said. "I didn't think I would make it to 69 for a start. My wife, Sharon, has saved my life time after time. She's the best thing to happen to me."
Osbourne and Black Sabbath perfected the metal template: bark-at-the-moon vocals, booming, plodding rhythm section, riffs that make use of the "Devil's interval" (the dissonant, foreboding harmonic interval that came to define metal guitar). Nearly every one of the genre's defining characteristics can be traced back to Sabbath.
On the band's 1970 self-titled debut, the group unironically covered such subjects as wizards, black cats, nightmares and Satan (naturally, the rest of the songs were about drugs).
But it was the LP art - a witchy woman dressed in black in front of watermill and washed in psychedelic colors - that convinced Osbourne they were on to something.
"When I saw the first album cover, I knew it would do well, and it did do well," he said.
Black Sabbath performed their final show in 2017. This will be the last Ozzy world tour. But the singer hasn't gotten all mushy. He expects to play festivals and plenty of one-off gigs. Does he have any sense of nostalgia? Does he agonize about these last few set lists?
"Not really," he said. "The audience is there to see the big hits and then a few songs they might not expect and we have a great set for them. And I will be back out on the stage soon enough."
That set list will be bolstered by Zakk Wylde, Ozzy's on-and-off guitarist for three decades. While many consider Randy Rhoads to be Ozzy's definitive guitarist, Wylde has spent more time and written just as many classics with Osbourne. The singer sees Wylde as the perfect foil.
"He's just meat and potatoes, a simple guy. What you see is what you get, and by now, he's more like a family member than a band member," Osbourne said.
With Osbourne off the road, he might at last have some time to record. It has been eight years since his last album, "Scream" - the longest gap between Ozzy LPs to date. But there may be hope on that front.
"I have a bunch of songs written and have plenty of ideas and really want to do a new album, but as to when and how it will come together, I do not really know," he said.
Ozzy Osbourne, with Stone Sour, at the Xfinity Center, Thursday. Tickets: $29-$307; livenation.com.